There are many plants that can inadvertently take over our gardens, particularly weeds, but there are some beautiful plants on sale that you can wonder why you ever planted. These are my own experiences and everyone will have a different gripe, says R&A gardener Cathie Welch
Houttuynia cordata ‘Chamaeleon’ (pictured)
A beautiful plant often sold for ponds and waterside planting now rampaging in my edible border. It is edible but not very nice. It spreads underground by rhizomes and pops up everywhere gathering momentum after its winter sleep.
This is where it is essential to do your homework. There are bamboos and there are bamboos. Avoid at all costs the running away ones that can colonise gardens and invade those of your neighbours as well as lift up paths, destroy foundations and puncture pond liners. I tend to choose Phylostachys aurea and nigra which are clump forming with beautiful stems but they are quite high maintenance needing to be thinned and trimmed constantly. Occasionally an unwanted shoot pops up but it is important to cut it off. You are in charge of your plants and not vice versa.
Helianthus is the Genus which includes the annual sunflower. There are several perennial varieties that spread indefinitely if you don’t keep them in check. They also spread by underground tubers and as anyone who has grown Jerusalem artichokes on their allotment will know.
This is a very pretty fern-like spreading shrub colonising the whole of Thursley common and the surrounding gardens. It is readily on sale in garden centres but never plant it in your garden unless you have the room.
I mentioned these in my last article and have battled with them in many a small garden. There are tall invasive varieties but also delightful cultivars like ‘Frilly Knickers’ which I can’t grow at all. They need a regular cull so just choose carefully.
There are many other invasive garden plants like Hypericum calycinum which spreads like mad but is great for banks as is Vinca major or periwinkle. There are many Buddleias and Ivies that do not seed and are not invasive. All plants have their right place. Choose your plants and their location carefully and do a little research on your soil type as one person’s thug plant may not even thrive in your garden.
Please ask for details as I am now meeting potential students for Spring Courses as well as bespoke workshops and volunteering. I can also come and teach you in your own garden and am happy to chat over a coffee at Ashdene.
Consultancy gift vouchers available too.
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